Short story: Flagship Character

The Anchorite's writing assignment for me today was to write something about his character Claire. She's a very deep character, a pivotal player in a dark fantasy epic. She is a lesbian who breaks all the fan service conventions. Her characterization explores love and pain and loss in unexpected ways. So, of course, this had to be a comedy piece.

Flagship Character

"Oh, no--" Claire clutched her stomach as a string of noisy eruptions choked off her words and she vomited a half liter of clear broth. In the zero gravity of space, it formed a small galaxy of floating globules. 
Twitch slid out out his lounging area. It was a shelf padded with goose-down and upholstered in silk. Stretchy netting covered the pad, allowing a cat to snuggle in and be held against it, creating a comforting illusion of gravity. Mr. Kitten invented it.
Twitch pushed off against the pad and floated to Claire. He used his claws to hold onto her flight suit and sniffed at a sphere. He licked it tentatively. "You're kinda sick," he said sympathetically and gave Claire his version of a kiss, which was to push his nose and mouse against her eye. Claire wiped a droplet of broth from her eyelash.

"You shouldn't have let go of the handhold," he advised as he turned his body around until his butt was up against Claire's face. "Now you're stranded, just like your barf bubbles, because you don't have anything to push off against." 

A vomit globe burst against the back of Claire's head as Twitch used his back legs to push off against her neck and face. The cat's motion moved Claire with an equal and opposite amount of force, but because of Twitch's much smaller mass, the movement did not get her near a handhold. It merely made her slowly rotate.

Twitch landed back at his lounge and winked at Mr. Kitten. "Did you know William Shakepeare invented the word puking?" 

Claire turned a little more green. "Don't talk to me about Shakespeare," Mr. Kitten said, turning away. Claire let out a breath.

Kitten cocked his head and turned back. "Actually, that's interesting. Did you know Chaucer was the first to use the words digestion and laxative?" 

Claire swallowed.

Twitch shrugged out of his lounge again and bounced over to Mr. Kitten's, taking a circuitous and sickening route that Claire followed with watery eyes. 

"That's quite a hotchpotch collection of words, Mr. Kitten."

"He invented the word hotchpotch too."

"Seriously?" Twitch asked. 

"Actually, Chaucer--" Kitten stopped and high-fived Twitch. Chaucer also invented the word seriously.

Because of the spin introduced by Twitch's movement, Claire was now looking at the cats upside down. Kitten blinked at her impassively for a moment, then he said, "Chaucer also invented poop and fart." 

Claire threw up again.
Heather rushed in from the other module. "Oh, sweetheart, I just saw you on the monitor. Why didn't you call me? Poor thing." Heather looked at the spheres. They were all perfectly round now and the ship's lights illuminated each golden globe with a holiday effect. Heather deftly gathered all of them into a plastic bag for disposal, biting her lip and trying to suppress her joy of moving in space.

"I'm so sorry, honey. I never knew you got motion sickness like this."

Claire closed her eyes. "It's space sickness. And since I'm a character in a sword and sorcery dark fantasy novel, I really never had occassion to learn I was subject to it."

Heather nodded. "I was meaning to ask you why we're in a spaceship."

Claire pressed her lips together. "My author, the Anchorite, suggested that Chris Hugh write a story with me in it."


"And he called me his flagship character and Chris misread flagship as spaceship."

Twitch tumbled out of his lounge crying "Shakespeare!" rather than the more traditional Geronimo! and began springing around the chamber. "That Chris! She's such a beldam brainsick duchess!"

Kitten rocketed out in pursuit of Twitch. "Not he's not! He's a burly-boned clown and a bolting hutch of beastliness!"

Twitch laughed. "And you're a shag-haired crafty kern!" 

"You're a swollen parcel of dropsies!" 

The cats bounced around the ship, shouting Shakespearean insults and trying to catch each other.

Heather helped Claire into a sleeping bag. Now that Claire's stomach was empty she felt better.
Heather stroked her cheek. "I'm sorry the Anchorite keeps having Chris Hugh write you. You always end up the butt of that crazy writer's sick jokes."

As Claire kissed Heather's cheek, she caught a glimpse of the cats. They were trying to fight, but because of the zero gravity, they just bounced off each other. 

"I'm glad Anchorite had Chris write me," Claire said. "If he hadn't, I never would have met you." She looked at the cats and laughed as one of them called the other the son and heir of a mongrel she-dog. "And I wouldn't have met them."

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